Author Topic: How to control anger  (Read 12970 times)


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How to control anger
« on: July 21, 2012, 02:44:05 PM »
A funny and yet interesting story about anger. How one can meditate so much but still have some of it.  :-[
I admit that I still have anger in me especially when I am concentrating on 1 thing and my colleagues come and disturb me with things that are not my concern. I get irritated and I sometimes answer in a sarcastic and hurtful way or I get angry. I know that there are many people out there who can control their anger, can you help me and other people with this issue. Something that you meditate on and really have the effect.

"A woman who practices reciting Buddha Amitabha's name, is very tough and recites "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA" three times daily. Although she is doing this practice for over 10 years, she is still quite mean, shouting at people all the time. She starts her practice lighting incense and hitting a little bell.
 A friend wanted to teach her a lesson, and just as she began her recitation, he came to her door and called out: "miss Nuyen, miss Nuyen!".
As this was the time for her practice she got annoyed, but she said to herself: "I have to struggle against my anger, so I will just ignore it." And she continued: "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA, NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA..."
But the man continued to shout her name, and she became more and more oppressive.
She struggled against it and wondered if she should stop the recitation to give the man a piece of her mind, but she continued reciting: "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA, NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA..."
The man outside heard it and continued: "Miss Nuyen, miss Nuyen..."
Then she could not stand it anymore, jumped up, slammed the door and went to the gate and shouted: "Why do you have to behave like that? I am doing my practice and you keep on shouting my name over and over!"
The gentleman smiled at her and said: "I just called your name for ten minutes and you are so angry. You have been calling Amitabha Buddha's name for more then ten years now; just imagine how angry he must be by now!"

Positive Change

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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 03:42:25 PM »
Anger and Buddhism - Lessons learnt

Anger. Rage. Fury. Wrath. Whatever you call it, it happens to all of us, including Buddhists. However much we value loving kindness, we Buddhists are still human beings, and sometimes we get angry. What does Buddhism teach about anger?

Anger is one of the three poisons – the other two are greed and ignorance – that are the primary causes of the cycle of samsara and rebirth. Purifying ourselves of anger is essential to Buddhist practice. Further, in Buddhism there is no such thing as “righteous” or “justifiable” anger. All anger is a fetter to realization.

Yet even highly realized masters admit they sometimes get angry. This means that for most of us, not getting angry is not a realistic option. We will get angry. What then do we do with our anger?

First, Admit You Are Angry

This may sound silly, but how many times have you met someone who clearly was angry, but who insisted he was not? For some reason, some people resist admitting to themselves that they are angry. This is not skillful. You can’t very well deal with something that you won’t admit is there.

Buddhism teaches mindfulness. Being mindful of ourselves is part of that. When an unpleasant emotion or thought arises, do not suppress it, run away from it, or deny it. Instead, observe it and fully acknowledge it. Being deeply honest with yourself about yourself is essential to Buddhism.

What Makes You Angry?

It’s important to understand that anger is something created by yourself. It didn’t come swooping out of the ether to infect you. We tend to think that anger is caused by something outside ourselves, such as other people or frustrating events. But my first Zen teacher used to say, “No one makes you angry. You make yourself angry.”

Buddhism teaches us that anger is created by mind. However, when you are dealing with your own anger, you should be more specific. Anger challenges us to look deeply into ourselves. Most of the time, anger is self-defensive. It arises from unresolved fears or when our ego-buttons are pushed.

As Buddhists we recognize that ego, fear and anger are insubstantial and ephemeral, not “real.” They’re ghosts, in a sense. Allowing anger to control our actions amounts to being bossed around by ghosts.

Anger Is Self-Indulgent

Anger is unpleasant but seductive. In this interview with Bill Moyer, Pema Chodron says that anger has a hook. “There's something delicious about finding fault with something,” she said. Especially when our egos are involved (which is nearly always the case), we may protect our anger. We justify it and even feed it.

Buddhism teaches that anger is never justified, however. Our practice is to cultivate metta, a loving kindness toward all beings that is free of selfish attachment. “All beings” includes the guy who just cut you off at the exit ramp, the co-worker who takes credit for your ideas, and even someone close and trusted who betrays you.

For this reason, when we become angry we must take great care not to act on our anger to hurt others. We must also take care not to hang on to our anger and give it a place to live and grow.

How to Let It Go

You have acknowledged your anger, and you have examined yourself to understand what caused the anger to arise. Yet you are still angry. What’s next?

Pema Chodron counsels patience. Patience means waiting to act or speak until you can do so without causing harm. “Patience has a quality of enormous honesty in it,” she said. “It also has a quality of not escalating things, allowing a lot of space for the other person to speak, for the other person to express themselves, while you don’t react, even though inside you are reacting.”

If you have a meditation practice, this is the time to put it to work. Sit still with the heat and tension of anger. Quiet the internal chatter of other-blame and self-blame. Acknowledge the anger and enter into it entirely. Embrace your anger with patience and compassion for all beings, including yourself.

Don’t Feed Anger

It’s hard not to act, to remain still and silent while our emotions are screaming at us. Anger fills us with edgy energy and makes us want to do something. Pop psychology tells us to pound our fists into pillows or to scream at the walls to “work out” our anger. Thich Nhat Hanh disagrees.

“When you express your anger you think that you are getting anger out of your system, but that's not true,” he said. “When you express your anger, either verbally or with physical violence, you are feeding the seed of anger, and it becomes stronger in you.” Only understanding and compassion can neutralize anger.

Compassion Takes Courage

Sometimes we confuse aggression with strength and non-action with weakness. Buddhism teaches that just the opposite is true.

Giving in to the impulses of anger, allowing anger to hook us and jerk us around, is weakness. On the other hand, it takes strength to acknowledge the fear and selfishness in which our anger usually is rooted. It also takes discipline to meditate in the flames of anger.

The Buddha said, “Conquer anger by non-anger. Conquer evil by good. Conquer miserliness by liberality. Conquer a liar by truthfulness.” (Dhammapada, v. 233) Working with ourselves and others and our lives in this way is Buddhism. Buddhism is not a belief system, or a ritual, or some label to put on your T-shirt. It’s this.

Big Uncle

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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 05:34:59 PM »
There's a genre of teachings that was started by Atisha that involves purifying and training the mind with virtues that can be used to control base delusions like anger. According to Atisha, the training of the mind set of teachings was given to him by the Indonesian master, Dharmarakshita. One of the seminal text that was transmitted by this master is called Wheel of Sharp Weapons.

Here are some stanzas that I have extracted from the Wheel of Sharp Weapons that is related to anger, its effects and so forth:-

(25) When all who are close turn against us as enemies,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we’ve held grudges inside us with anger
With thoughts of sly methods to cause others pain;
Hereafter let’s try to have less affectation,
Nor pretend to be kind while we harbor base aims.

(38) When our bodies are ugly and others torment us
By mocking our flaws, never showing respect,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we’ve made images [11] lacking in beauty,
By venting our anger, we’ve made ugly scenes;
Hereafter let’s print books and make pleasing statues,
And not be short-tempered, but be of good cheer.

(39) When attachment and anger disturb and upset us
No matter how much we may try to suppress them,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we’ve held on to the improper outlook,
Stubbornly cherishing only ourselves;
Hereafter let’s uproot self-interest completely.

(68) We have selfish desires and horrible anger
Which fester inside us, we would never admit;
Yet without provocation we criticize others
And self-righteously charge them with faults we possess.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.

(86) By making a habit of anger and passion,
We come to despise everyone that we meet;
And by making a habit of jealous resentment,
We ascribe fruits to others, disclaiming their worth.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.

Dorje Pakmo

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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2012, 02:47:35 AM »
I admit that I still have anger in me especially when I am concentrating on 1 thing and my colleagues come and disturb me with things that are not my concern. I get irritated and I sometimes answer in a sarcastic and hurtful way or I get angry. I know that there are many people out there who can control their anger, can you help me and other people with this issue. Something that you meditate on and really have the effect.

Dear Bambi,
I think it is only natural for anyone to feel angry. But what is important is that we know the nature of ANGER. It is destructive and disruptive to our relationship with others,  it hurts our health and most importantly it hinders our spiritual endeavour.

There are many people who can control their anger well. But is CONTROLLING really the solution? By CONTROLLING you mean SUPPRESSING. The more one suppresses his/her feelings then the potential of BLOWING UP gets higher because he/she is did it unnaturally. He/she is controlling him/herself from blowing up. One day, like a volcano that cannot hold it in any longer, it's only a matter of time before one blows up and hurt everyone around including him/herself.

Hence, the best way I think is to acknowledge the negative nature of ANGER. If we are a very angry person, best when we do our meditation to see this ANGER and not be ashamed of it, instead we acknowledge it, do not stop it, let it rise. See the true nature of this negative feeling, how destructive it can be, see ourselves operating in this mode and how ugly we are, then pray to our Guru. Offer our anger as an offering to our Guru. Each time we are able to let go and not be angry, dedicate it to our Guru sincerely. Do it as a practice. By doing this, I think one will be able to transform the mind and cut down much anger. Over time, as anger becomes less and less, then our practice will become easier and easier.  ;)   


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2012, 10:23:09 AM »
External circumstances are not what draw us into suffering. Suffering is caused and permitted by an untamed mind that causes anger and bring on harm to ourselves and others. The appearance of self-defeating emotions in our minds leads us to faulty actions. The naturally pure mind is covered over by these emotions and troubling conceptions. The force of their deceit in the form of anger pushes us into faulty actions, which leads inevitably to suffering.

We need, with great awareness and care, to extinguish these problematic attitudes, the way gathering clouds dissolve back into the sphere of the sky. When our self-defeating attitudes, emotions, and conceptions cease, so will the harmful actions arising from them.

As the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa says, "When arising, arising within space itself; when dissolving, dissolving back into space." We need to become familiar with the state of our own minds to understand how to dissolve ill-founded ideas and impulses back into the deeper sphere of reality. The sky was there before the clouds gathered, and it will be after they have gone. It is also present when the clouds seem to cover every inch of the sky we can see.


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2012, 10:47:15 AM »

The gentleman smiled at her and said: "I just called your name for ten minutes and you are so angry. You have been calling Amitabha Buddha's name for more then ten years now; just imagine how angry he must be by now!"

It is so true that we so often look at things from our own perspective and expect others to please us by going long our wishes. Just like this story, the angry woman only thinks about herself and gets irritated by people calling her names repeatedly. She didn't realized she had been performing the exact 'irritating' act towards another being, who so happen to be the compassionate Buddha! Had she been calling someone else's name for such a long period of time, she would have been told off long since !

Before we point our fingers to others, we have to reflect on ourselves, have we done the exact something  to others?
Down with the BAN!!!


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2012, 11:57:48 AM »
When you are angry or have lost your temper, then it is good to bring back calmness by concentrating on breathing. Just count the breaths, completely forgetting about anger. Concentrate on breathing and count in and out "one, two, three," up to twenty. At that moment when your mind concentrates fully on breathing, the breath coming and going, the passions subside. Afterwards it is easier to think clearly.

Since all activities, including meditation, depend very much on the force of intention or motivation, it is important that, before you begin to meditate, you cultivate a correct motivation... The correct motivation is the altruistic attitude.


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2012, 12:10:03 PM »
I would like to share how to catch up our mind when we know that we are getting angry to reduce it or make it lessen. When i was young, my teacher in school taught me and friends to reduce our anger by counting  the number from 1 to 100when we know we are getting angry then can response that person or that situation so we will not feel angry with whoever or the situation any more, or it will be lessen. Of course, this is only  can apply with people who know or aware that they are getting angry if the person does not aware of it, it will not help.

I believe that many people who react something with anger because they are not aware of it or some might know but do not know how to handle it.

May be we can start by practice our mind to have awareness, be in the present and even if we really angry with someone but take shorter time to let go of it for example if we used to angry with the person for one week reduce to three days then one day until half an hour and five minutes this is one way to reduce our anger as well.

I hope it help.. It will take you sometime to reduce the anger as it become our habitual but if we really focus in our mind, it can be changed.   

Tenzin K

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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2012, 01:42:41 PM »
The basic problem according to Buddhism, is that emotions like anger and hatred are based on projections and exaggeration, not on objectivity or wisdom, and thus basically incorrect.

There is little need to explain what anger and hatred do to ourselves by means of the laws of karma; the misery we cause others will come back at ourselves. Nobody wants suffering, so next is a summary of methods which can not only reduce but even eliminate anger and hatred from our minds.

It must be emphasize that to completely eliminate these negative emotions from our mind is a lengthy psychological process, requiring study, mindfulness, reflection and honest observation of one's own mind. To begin with, meditation is an ideal method to review a situation in which one became angry . This has the advantage that one is not exposed to the actual situation, but one can review it much more objectively.

When regular meditation gives some insight into what anger is and what happens to oneself when feeling angry, then one can gradually try to apply it in real-life situations, preferably of course before one is already under complete control of anger. It is a slow process, but the change in your life and the ones around you can profoundly change for the better.


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2012, 02:37:46 PM »
There is one method of controlling anger through meditation. This is recommended by Bob Sharples in his book "Meditation and Relaxation in Plain English". The meditation exercise is as follows:

"Take a few minutes to settle into your chosen posture, strong, present and alert. Clarify your motivation and slowly soften and relax your body. ... Gently settle your attention on the fullness of each in-breath and each out-breath...

If any strong emotions or moods come - like anger, fear, loneliness, desire... and so on - let go of the focus on the breath and name the emotions softly in the mind while you feel them as fully as you can: "anger, anger, anger". As long as the emotion or mood is present, name it. Note how one emotion or mood flows into another and simply keep observing it and labeling it. Then when the emotion fades, turn your attention back to the next breath. Continue doing this for the next ten minutes.

Remember to stay in the present. Don't let the mind wander off. Always come back to the breath, to sensations in the body, to any strong emotions or moods.


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2012, 03:02:41 PM »
There are 2 topics about anger in this forum and there are good feedbacks and comments about controlling anger in the following link:


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2012, 04:22:25 PM »
There are many methods to overcome anger.   Please refer the methods in the links provided by sonamdhargey and the methods as discussed here in this thread. 

The Pure Land’s method of reciting Buddha’s Name requires total concentration and mindfulness of Amitabha’s name moment to moment.  Clearly the woman has not been reciting Namo Amitabha correctly. If she has done it correctly, she shouldn’t be disturbed and distracted by her friend who had called her many times.


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2012, 09:20:08 AM »
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn the techniques, you can call upon them in any situation. If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques.

Some simple steps you can try:
Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.
Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation.

Cognitive Restructuring
Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "it's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow."

Be careful of words like "never" or "always" when talking about yourself or someone else. "This !&*%@ machine never works," or "you're always forgetting things" are not just inaccurate, they also serve to make you feel that your anger is justified and that there's no way to solve the problem. They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.

Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won't make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse).

Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it's justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is "not out to get you," you're just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. Do this each time you feel anger getting the best of you, and it'll help you get a more balanced perspective. Angry people tend to demand things: fairness, appreciation, agreement, willingness to do things their way. Everyone wants these things, and we are all hurt and disappointed when we don't get them, but angry people demand them, and when their demands aren't met, their disappointment becomes anger. As part of their cognitive restructuring, angry people need to become aware of their demanding nature and translate their expectations into desires. In other words, saying, "I would like" something is healthier than saying, "I demand" or "I must have" something. When you're unable to get what you want, you will experience the normal reactions—frustration, disappointment, hurt—but not anger. Some angry people use this anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn't mean the hurt goes away.

Problem Solving
Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.

Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.

Better Communication
Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions, and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don't say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.

Listen, too, to what is underlying the anger. For instance, you like a certain amount of freedom and personal space, and your "significant other" wants more connection and closeness. If he or she starts complaining about your activities, don't retaliate by painting your partner as a jailer, a warden, or an albatross around your neck.
It's natural to get defensive when you're criticized, but don't fight back. Instead, listen to what's underlying the words: the message that this person might feel neglected and unloved. It may take a lot of patient questioning on your part, and it may require some breathing space, but don't let your anger—or a partner's—let a discussion spin out of control. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a disastrous one.

Using Humor
"Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. If you're at work and you think of a coworker as a "dirtbag" or a "single-cell life form," for example, picture a large bag full of dirt (or an amoeba) sitting at your colleague's desk, talking on the phone, going to meetings. Do this whenever a name comes into your head about another person. If you can, draw a picture of what the actual thing might look like. This will take a lot of the edge off your fury; and humor can always be relied on to help unknot a tense situation.

The underlying message of highly angry people, Dr. Deffenbacher says, is "things oughta go my way!" Angry people tend to feel that they are morally right, that any blocking or changing of their plans is an unbearable indignity and that they should NOT have to suffer this way. Maybe other people do, but not them!

When you feel that urge, he suggests, picture yourself as a god or goddess, a supreme ruler, who owns the streets and stores and office space, striding alone and having your way in all situations while others defer to you. The more detail you can get into your imaginary scenes, the more chances you have to realize that maybe you are being unreasonable; you'll also realize how unimportant the things you're angry about really are. There are two cautions in using humor. First, don't try to just "laugh off" your problems; rather, use humor to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, don't give in to harsh, sarcastic humor; that's just another form of unhealthy anger expression.

What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take yourself too seriously. Anger is a serious emotion, but it's often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh.

Changing Your Environment
Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap.

Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful. One example is the working mother who has a standing rule that when she comes home from work, for the first 15 minutes "nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire." After this brief quiet time, she feels better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.

Some Other Tips for Easing Up on Yourself
Timing: If you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night—perhaps you're tired, or distracted, or maybe it's just habit—try changing the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don't turn into arguments.

Avoidance: If your child's chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door. Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don't say, "well, my child should clean up the room so I won't have to be angry!" That's not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.

Finding alternatives: If your daily commute through traffic leaves you in a state of rage and frustration, give yourself a project—learn or map out a different route, one that's less congested or more scenic. Or find another alternative, such as a bus or commuter train.


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Re: How to control anger
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2012, 07:51:44 PM »
Instead of fretting or being angry over something of a past, it would be better if we use the anger to venge it on the success that we are going to achieve to proof to some people that want to make us down. I know it seems like being revengeful but i take positive point from this perception. I feel it does makes a difference if we choose to see the matter in a more positive manner. For me, being angry about something and feeling hurt has no use anymore and why don't we use the anger and make it as motivation to us to become even better?